We are using cookies to give you the best experience on our site. Cookies are files stored in your browser and are used by most websites to help personalise your web experience.

By continuing to use our website without changing the settings, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more
For more information, go to

Campaigner Frances who lives with arthritis tells us why she is going to party conferences

Published on 04 September 2017

Frances, 62, West SussexI was 23 when I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis . I had trained to be a teacher but it became clear that it would no longer be possible for me to keep up with a class and spend long hours standing. It wasn’t the life I expected to live.

You have to make a new life, and let go of what you thought was going to happen. Arthritis can affect every aspect of your existence, from your career to your relationships and social life. As well as the big changes, there are little things too, for example I can find it a struggle to take the cap off a bottle of water.

I am joining Arthritis Research UK at party conferences to take the opportunity to speak to MPs about what life is like with arthritis, and what they can do to support people. As arthritis can be an invisible condition, I think it’s important that politicians see the real people behind the numbers – the 10 million people in the UK living with arthritis.

My hope is that young people today with rheumatoid arthritis will get a much quicker diagnosis than I did, as this can mean they’ll respond better to treatment. That’s why one of the things I’ll be asking MPs at conference is to ensure timely access to health services.

Arthritis Research UK is attending all major party conferences this year asking political decision makers to ensure people with arthritis have fair and timely access to the services they need. Click here to ask your MP to meet with Frances, other volunteers, and staff from Arthritis Research UK.

For more information, go to
Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.